What does it take to be an effective leader of a corporate communications team? At a time when market forces, globalization, and a new generation of employees are changing the workplace, the old command-and-control approach to management no longer works. Corporate communications managers must engage with employees in a way that leads to their success, the success of the department and the corporation.
Here are eight behaviors central to your success as a corporate communications manager.
- Vision/Purpose: As the leader of an organization you need set a clear, compelling vision for your team and the work they deliver. A well-reasoned vision for the work of your team is critical in uniting your people behind a purpose they can feel confident in supporting.
- Character: People follow those they can believe in – leaders who demonstrate integrity, honesty, determination, and respect for others. There are times you should take the project lead. Not to show you are “part of the team,” but to stay grounded in the understanding of their needs and to earn their trust and loyalty.
- Listen Courageously: It’s important to be a good listener, remain open to input from all stakeholders and respectful of their ideas. A successful leader must develop the ability to listen carefully and act courageously when called upon to do so.
- Communicate Clearly: Interpersonal skills and the ability to motivate people has become a core competency of leadership. Be transparent – those around you will respond positively if your decision-making process is viewed as open, fair, and consistent.
- Demonstrate Flexibility: The speed of business requires constant monitoring of business trends, directions, and opportunities. However, being flexible does not mean constantly changing direction. Your credibility as a leader requires focus and directing the effort of your team on the most promising opportunities.
- Embrace Risk: Guardians of the status quo can never be leaders. It takes courage to seek new and better ways your team can contribute value back to the corporation. Be prepared for change and when the opportunity is right, pursue it.
- Technical Competence: As a member of the management team you’re accountable to the organization for delivering business results, not demonstrating technical prowess. You do not need to be a technical expert in all aspects of communication, but you must stay informed about the forces shaping our industry.
- Build Your Team: A leader is only as effective as the team they build. Be passionate. Inspire others to dream and provide them the opportunity to achieve. Recognize and reward their efforts and that of others to reinforce those actions. As a leader your success will be measured by the success of others.
If you truly aspire to a leadership position, or want to make the most of your opportunity, work hard at these eight skills. It promises to be a rewarding journey.
Article Contributed by Tom Morse, Principal Multimedia Project Manager, SAS